Could a new form of online instruction change the way the U.S. views formal education?

online-learningRyan Teves met David Smith while tutoring Smith’s children in a small, redwood-canopied learning center he operates on Canham Road in Scotts Valley.

“I’m the gritty, in-the-trenches teacher and David’s the big-time tech entrepreneur,” joked Teves. “It’s a perfect partnership.”

Together the pair have launched Silicon Valley High School, an online institution that just might change the way the U.S. approaches formal education.

Recently approved by the University of California system, Silicon Valley High’s state-accredited curriculum provides an ever-growing assortment of innovative, relevant and compelling online programs geared toward high school students, but available to learners of all ages.

Having taught on the front lines for well over a decade and authored the book “In Defense of the American Teen,” Teves has gleaned an understanding of what he sees as flaws in U.S. teaching methodologies by spending hundreds of hours in the classroom with students.

“They complain about a lack of relevance in the curriculum. They ask, ‘Why do I have to learn this?’” Teves said. “There’s also huge discrepancies between the students’ experiences. The quality of a student’s education varies wildly depending on the teacher, school, county; even the city they live in,” he added. “Silicon Valley High provides the same five-star education to kids in Compton and Boston.”